Icelandic musician Sindri Már Sigfússon has many different aspects to his musicality, making him pleasingly impossible to put in a box. Which is perhaps as well; pigeonholes are, after all, best reserved for pigeons.
Depending on his creative focus at any point in time, Sindri Már might be the lynchpin of folk-flecked indie band Seabear, solo artist Sin Fang or an emergent scorer of films. Or perhaps all three, on a particularly busy day.
But even these descriptions can’t encompass the full range of his musical works, creating the danger that some gems might fall through the gaps. So last year Sindri Már scooped up some of these stylistic waifs and strays into the album ‘Slim Fang (2015-2020)’, which receives its vinyl release in a couple of weeks.
Improvised piano piece
This collection of Sin Fang rarities and side projects includes “Soy Un Animal”, a gorgeous piece of solo piano which wanders through a dark forest of melancholic C-minor.
“The song is an improv piano thing that I recorded for no specific reason,” Sindri Már recalls. “I knew it wouldn’t fit into my pop music albums or anything like that. I recorded a pretty long session of me playing, then I just cut these three minutes out of that.”
The video for the track—released today—is also a work of great beauty, but provides a counterpoint to the music it accompanies.
“My friend Magnús Leifsson is really good director,” Sindri Már continues. “I sent the song to him before it was released, and he found this footage of these Icelandic fishermen playing basketball out in the middle of the Atlantic.”
Improvised basketball hoop
The footage was shot by crewman Ingi Guðnason on board an Icelandic fishing ship in 1993. It is slowed down in sympathy with its soundtrack, and has a warm, fuzzy VHS quality which evokes nostalgia for a simpler, pre-digital age. The improvised basketball hoop in the video, fashioned out of a broken waste-paper basket by the fishermen, reminds Sindri Már of his own teenage obsession with the sport.
“We were all playing basketball and watching the NBA back then. Me and my cousins got a bucket from our grandfather and asked if we could saw the bottom off it. Then we nailed it to a post, you know, with gravel for the basketball court.”
The throwback feel of the footage appeals to Sindri Már, as does the edgy nature of the fishermen’s sporting activities. At one point a crew member is hoisted down the side of the vessel in rolling waves, risking death to retrieve the basketball which had gone overboard.
“If you look in the background of these shots, you’ll see the water is quite close,” Sindri Már points out. “It’s not a luxurious ship or anything. These Icelandic fisherman are just out somewhere in the Atlantic, using the hull of the ship as a basketball court. I thought it was just amazing.”
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